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Martin Bashir

News/Business. Journalist Martin Bashir uncovers breaking news stories. New.

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Cia 31, Us 15, Mr. Brennan 9, U.s. 8, Fbi 5, Benghazi 4, Mr. Rodriguez 3, Nsa 3, Reuters 3, America 2, Michael Mukasey 2, Christie 2, Howard Baker 2, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 2, Geneva 2, Udall 2, Tunisia 2, Michael Hayden 2, Waterboarding 2, Obama Administration 2,
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  MSNBC    Martin Bashir    News/Business. Journalist Martin  
   Bashir uncovers breaking news stories. New.  

    February 7, 2013
    1:00 - 1:59pm PST  

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but that's not the question. >> i thought it was, senator, but go ahead. >> the question was why did you feel compelled to hold this press conference and divulge that information at that time on that day? >> it wasn't a press conference. it was teleconference with these individuals and i know they were going out on of course that evening and i wanted to make sure these individual was that background were able to explain appropriately to the american people as we have been talking about the importance of making sure the american people are aware of the threat environment and what we're doing on the counterterrorism front. >> and they were going to go on tv that evening to discuss this event? >> yes, because it had already broken. the news reports had broken that afternoon, senator, and so there was a flurry of activity. these individuals reached out to us as they normally do. this was a routine engagement with the press as we normally do when these things are made public. >> the next paragraph says according to five people familiar with the call, brennan stressed that the plot was never a threat to the u.s. public or
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air safety because washington had inside control over it. >> inside control of the plot, yeb, that's exactly right. >> so based on that one would know that we had something inside. is that a fair statement. >> from that statement, it is known that that ied at the time was not a threat to the traveling public because we had said publicly there was no active plot at the time of the bin laden anniversary. >> would you agree with me that that disclosure resulted in the outing of an asset that shouldn't have been outed? >> absolutely not, senator. i do not agree with you whatsoever. >> how do you say that? >> what i'm saying is we were explaining to the american public why that ied was not, in fact, a threat at the time that it was in the control of individuals. when we say positive control, inside control, that means we have that operation either environmentally or any number of ways. it did not in any way reveal any type of classified information. and i told those individuals to
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transcripts that are available of that conversation. i cannot talk to you about the operational details of this whatsoever. >> having used the words that you used of inside control, it isn't much of a leap to determine that somehow you had a handle on it. >> it's not much of a leap to know that if, in fact, we said this ied was, in fact, obtained and it was not a threat at the time, that there was some type of inside control. it is almost a truism. >> having said that, it seems to me that the leak that the justice department is looking for is right here in front of us, and you disagree with that? >> i des agree with you vehemently senator, and i have talked to the department of justice. i conducted interviews with them and, you know, i am a witness in that as many other people are. and as you know, there are witness and subject and target. i'm not a subject, i'm not a target, i am a witness. because i want to make sure whoever leaked this information
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that got out to the press and that seriously did disrupt some very sensitive operational equities on the part of some of our international partners, that never should have happened. >> and you're in agreement with that, that this was a serious flaw in what should have happened, is that correct? >> it's a serious flaw that it got out to the press bafer before that operation was concluded, absolutely. and my discussion with those individuals that night, it already was out in the press. >> you would agree with me that on the day that we get mr. siri it's going to be either a very, very good day or if he gets us first, it's going to be a very, very bad day for the american people and particularly for anyone who was involved in a leak concerning him. >> senator, i live this every day and night. >> i understand. >> i go to bed at night worrying i didn't do enough that day to make sure i protect the american people. so when mr. siri is brought to justice it will be because of the work that's been done over the past number of years by some
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brave americans in cia and other places. believe me, i am focused as a laysier on the issue of the ied threat. >> my name is up, thank you, madam chairman. >> thank you. before you start, senator, a vote is due to start at 4:00. it's five after 4:00. senator chambliss went to vote. as soon as he returned, i will go. we will just keep this going so members be guided by that. >> this is my wonderful, beautiful wife kathy who has been my spouse for 34 years and my partner in my work, and my brother thomas also is hear from new jersey. >> we would like to welcome you and we know that not only will you serve but your entire family
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has served and will continue to srve and i'm going to echo the remarks of my colleague senator warner thanking the people of the central intelligence agency for what they do every day in every way working often in a way that is not known, not recognized and, quite frankly, not always appreciated. top human spy agency to make sure we have no strategic surprises. that it has become more and more executing paramilitary operations, and i discussed this with you in our conversation. how do you see this? i see this as mission creep. i see this as overriding the original mission of the cia for which you're so well-versed, and
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more a function of the special operations command. could you share with me how you see the cia and what you think about this militarization of the cia that's going on? >> thank you, senator. >> you might disagree with me. i welcome your disagreement if you do so. >> senator, the principle mission of the agency is to collect intelligence, uncover those secrets as you say to prevent those strategic surprises, and to be the best analytic component within the u.s. government to do the analysis the cia has done so well for many, many years. at times the president asked and directs the cia to do covert action. that can take any number of forms to include paramilitary. as we have discussed here today on the counterterrorism front, there are things that the agency has been involved in since 9/11 that, in fact, have been a bit of an aberration from its traditional roam. one of the things i would do if
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i would go back to the agency is take a look at the allocation of mission within cia. the resources dedicated to this. and as we had the discussion when i paid my courtesy call, i am concerned that looking at the world, which is a very big place, we need to make sure we have the best intelligence collection capabilities possible and the best analytic capabilities possible and the cia shuz not be doing traditional military activities and operations. >> i appreciate that and look forward to working with you on this to really identify which is appropriately cia and dod. which then takes me to the issue of cyber threat. both secretary panetta, general dempsey, and in the current role at the white house have talked about the cyber threat. you were a big help in trying to help us get this cyber legislation passed. now, tell us what you think is the role of the cia in dealing
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with the cyber threat but in the area of human intelligence or -- i mean with the cia. you have a unique insight into it. you know what nsa does. you know what homeland security is supposed to do. tell us where you see the cia in this. >> well, first of all, the cyber threat this country faces is one of the most insidious to our national security and one that i think our government as a whole and this body, the congress, really needs to be focused on and do everything possible to prevent a devastating attack against this country because of the vulnerabilities in the cyber front. cia's traditional mission on the collection front is to try to determine the plans and intentions of foreign governments, foreign groups, national groups, and others. learning about those plans and intentions and the development of capabilities in the cyber world is something that cia i think is best placed to do so that we have an understanding of
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what foreign countries are doing, what organized criminal organizations are doing, what national groups are doing and the nature of the threat to us. then, in addition, the analysts at cia can take that information working with the rest of the community to make sure the policymakers have pa good sense of the nature of the threat and the potential mitigation strategies and then working with nsa, department of homeland security and others, put together that structure that's going to make this country resistant and resilient to those attacks. >> well, mr. brennan, i really look forward to working with you on this because this cuts across all the agencies, the fbi -- those that have responsibility for work outside of this country, inside this country, and yet we all have to be doing what we're using the marine corps saying doing what we're best at and what the we're most needed for. i consider this one of the greatest threats and one of the greatest vulnerabilities because
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we failed to pass the legislation ourselves. we can't stop what foreign predators want to do. we can divert, identify, and attack, but we are making ourselves vulnerable. now, i want to get to the job of the cia director. i'm going to be blunt and this will be no surprise to you, sir. but i have been on this committee for more than ten years, and with the exception of mr. panetta, i feel i have been jerked around by every cia director. i have either been misled, misrepresented, -- to tell us had weapons of mass destruction in iraq, to porter goss.
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we know the problems we've had with torture, the chair has spoken eloquently about it all the way and, quite frankly, during those questions they were evaded. they were distorted, et cetera. so my question to you is knowing your background, knowing your jesuit education, knowing what i think your values are, can i have your word that you're going to be very forthcoming with this committee to speak truth to power, to speak truth about power and even when it's uncomfortable or where we're going to have to probe in a way that's not an easy way to go? >> honesty, truthfulness was a value that was inculcated in me in my home in new jersey by my parents. it still is to this day. honesty is the best policy. none of us are perfect aboutings. i'm far from perfect, but,
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senator, i would commit i would be honest with this committee and do everything possible to meet your legitimate needs and requirements. as i think i have told you before. i know you are a proud senator of one of the jewels in the intelligence committee, nsa, which resides in maryland, but it would be my objective to make cia your favorite intelligence agency and push keith alexander aside. >> well, i think you're pushing him out of the way already. thank you very much. madam chair, i'm finished. thank you very much. >> senator levin. >> thank you. thank you for your willingness to serve here, mr. brennan. you have said publicly that you believe waterboarding is inconsistent with american values. it's something that should be prohibited, goes beyond the bounds of what a civilized society should employ. my question is this, in your opinion does waterboarding constitute torture?
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>> the attorney general has referred to waterboarding as torture. many people have referred to as torture. attorney general is the premiere law enforcement officer and lawyer of this country. as you well know and as we have had the discussion, senator, the term torture has a lot of legal and political implications. it is something that should have been banned long ago. it never should have taken place in my view. and, therefore, if i were to go to cia, it would never, in fact, be brought back. >> do you have a personal opinion as to whether waterboarding is torture? >> i have a personal opinion that waterboarding is reprehensible and is something that should not be done. i'm not a lawyer and i can't address that question. >> well, you have heard opinions as to whether or not waterboarding is torture. do you accept those opinions? that's my question. >> senator, i have read a lot of legal opinions. i read an office of legal counsel that said waterboarding
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could be used. i can't point to a single legal document on this issue. as far as i'm concerned waterboarding is something that never should have been employed and as far as i'm concerned never will be if i have anything to do with it. >> a waterboarding banned by the geneva conventions. >> i believe the attorney general also has said that it's contrary and in contravention of the geneva convention. i'm not a lawyer or legal scholar. >> mr. rodriguez, the former cia deputy director for operations was asked about his personal, moral, orb ethical perspective on these enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding. he said that he knew -- these are his words. i know many of these procedures were applied to our own servicemen, tens of thousands of u.s. soldiers had gone through this, close quote. now, as we investigated at senate armed services committee in our 2008 report, these
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so-called survival evasion resistance or s.e.a.r. techniques were used to train members of our military. they were never intended to be used by u.s. interrogators. these techniques were based on chinese and communist techniques used during the korean war. they were developed to expose them for a few moments to these techniques was meant to help them survive in the event they were captured, in the event they were subjected to these techniques. my question to you is this. is there any come comparability to a friendly trainer exposing our troops to waterboarding for
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a few moments, is there any comparability to using these techniques on an enemy in an effort to extract intelligence? >> they're for completely different purposes and intentions. i do not see any comparability there. >> now, the chairman and i issued a report on -- or made a statement on april 27th, 2012. this also began with the statement of mr. rodriguez. here is what he said. information provided by cia detainees, khalid sheikh mohammed about bin laden's courier being the lead information that eventually led to the location of bin laden's compound and the operation that led to his death. that's what rodriguez said. we said that statement is wrong. the original lead information had no connection to cia deta detaine detainees. the cia had significant
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intelligence on the kocourier. the pair provided falts and misleading information during their time in cia custody. now, my question to you is, are you aware of any intelligence information that supports mr. rodriguez's claim that the lead information on the courier came from ksm and al libi. >> i am unaware of any. >> next, michael hayden, former cia director said that, quote, what we got, the original lead information, began with information from cia detainees at black sites. chairman -- the chairman and i issued in the same statement the following, that the statement of
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the former attorney general, michael mukasey, was wrong. do you have any information to disagree with our statement? >> i do not. >> a third statement that we quoted in our report. michael hayden, former cia director. we got the original lead information began with -- excuse me. that was mr. hayden i was asking you about. not mr. mukasey. your answer is the same i assume. >> i'm unaware. >> you don't have any information to the contrary? >> right. >> now, michael mukasey, former attorney general, "the wall street journal," consider how the intelligence that led to bin laden came to hand, it began with a disclosure from khalid sheikh mohammed who broke like a dam under pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. he loosed a torrent of information including eventually the name of a trusted courier of
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bin laden. our statement, that of the chairman and myself, is that that statement is wrong. do you have any information to the contrary? >> senator, my impression earlier on was that there was information that was provided, that was useful and valuable, but as i have said i have read the first voul of your report which raises questions about whether any of that information is accurate. >> i'm referring to the statement that chairman feinstein and i issued. we flat out say that those statements are wrong. do you have any basis to disagree with us? >> i do not. >> will you when you become cia director assuming you're confirmed take the statement we have issued and tell us whether or not you disagree with any of the statements that we have made about those statements of those three men? will do you that if you're confirmed? >> i will look and consider that request, senator. as i said, the report that this committee has put together, i need to take a look at what cia's response is. that report raises serious
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questions about whether any worthwhile intelligence came from these individuals. >> will you include in your review a review of our joint statement and tell us whether after your review you disagree with anything we've said? will do you that? >> i will be happy to. >> now, there's one final point, and that has to do with a very famous document. my time is not yet quite up. that has to do with a cable that came in that relates to the so-called atta matter. are you familiar with that issue? >> yes, i am. >> the issue is whether or not there ever was a meeting in prague between mohamed atta, one of the people who attacked the trade center, and the iraqi intelligence. the cable that came in has been classified by the cia even though the report of the -- and this is what the cia did to the
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cable. now, will you check with the checks, with the source of this cable, and see if they have any objection to the release of this cable relative to the report of that meeting? >> yes, senator. since our courtesy call i have looked into this issue. know you and director petraeus who were involved in a discussion on this and i would be happy to follow up on it, but there does seem to be some concerns about release of that cable. >> well, the report of the cia, by the way -- excuse me, the unclassified report of the intelligence committee, which was not classified, was not redacted by the cia, made at least four references to the czech intelligence service providing the cia with reporting based on a single source about
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this alleged meeting which never took place. we knew it never took place, and yet repeatedly, particularly the vice president, made reference to there was a report of a meeting between these two. now, it's very significant for the historical record here. we went to war based on allegations that there was a relationship between iraq and the attackers, the 9/11 attackers. it's very important that this cable be declassified. the only reason to keep it redacted and classified, frankly, is to protect an administration. not to protect sources and methods. because the sources and methods if you will check with the czechs i'm sure will tell you they have no objection to the release of that cable. my question to you is will you check with the czechs if you're confirmed and determine whether they have any objection to the release of the cable which makes reference to them?
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>> absolutely, senator, i will. >> thank you. my time is up. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. brennan, we acknowledge your experience, and i think that experience is important to have for the position that if confirmed you will occupy. i acknowledge your service to the country and your experience in this field. i think the president used that as one of the criteria, of course. you and i when we talked earlier in a private talk talked about the relationship that you want to have with this committee. not just with the chairman and the vice chairman but with all the committee members. and i appreciate your answers on that, and you addressed it again today in terms of potential trust deficit or you said that that's wholly unacceptable. you would give straight answers and be blunt and candid. and you've been that today.
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it's not a prerequisite to be mr. con jean yalt to ageniality. the kind of issues you have to deal with require straight talk, straight answers, and getting to the chase real quick. you said it's the new jersey way. i'll accept that. it's bipartisan. governor christie exhibits the same kind of responses and has a pretty high approval rating. so we will go forward with taking you at your word and we'll have the kind of relationship that we can have a blunt, straightforward, fully disclosed working relationship. i think it's critical to our ability to provide oversight, our ability to have the right kind of relationship with the
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agency so we know where each other is and can move forward together in terms of what needs to be done to provide intelligence necessary to protect the american people. so i wanted to say that. i'd like to follow up a little bit more on the leaks question. because i have a few more questions. i was going to delve into that in more detail but it's already been discussed. let me just ask a couple of other questions to clear some things up in my mind. my understanding is that the associated press had information relative to the intercept of a planned operation that perhaps had something to do with airlines and explosive devices. apparently they had this for a few days and then either were about or had gone ahead and released it.
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i'm assuming your then calling the conference call was in response to what they had just released. is that correct? >> yes. a number of news networks had put out information about this, yes. >> and you expressly called this -- arranged this teleconference so -- for what exactly purpose? >> there were a number of people who were going to be going out on the news shows that night who were asking about the reports about this intercepted ied and wanted to get some context as far as the nature of the threat and also were asking questions about, well, you said and the u.s. government said there was no threat during the anniversary of the bin laden takedown. how could there not have been a threat if, in fact, this ied was out there. >> the question i have is this, because based on what you said and what we have learned, you then in that teleconference
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talked about the fact that in answering the question how do we know this, i think the quote that came across from richard clarke was, quote, never came close because they had insider information, insider control. you had referenced that you had said that to the group. >>, what i said was inside control of the plot and that the device was never a threat. >> insider control. >> no, i said inside control. not insider. >> inside control. based on what the associated prose -- they never made any mention about inside control. why was it necessary then to add that? why couldn't you have just simply said we've intercepted a plot. it's been a successful interception. because once the word inside control got out, then all the speculati
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speculation, and correct, was that that inside control was interpreted as meaning we've got somebody inside, and the result of that was the covert action operation had to be dissolved because the control agent, the inside person, was -- well, essentially the plot was exposed and, therefore, the whole operation had to be dissolved. >> senator, i must caution there's still elements of this event that remain classified. >> okay. >> and that we cannot talk about in public. there was a lot of information that cage out immediately after the ap broke that story. unfortunately, there was a hemorrhaging of information and leaks. again, what i said was that there was inside control because what i needed to do and what i said to the american public on
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the open networks the following morning is that during the anniversary period of the bin laden takedown when we said to the american public, there was no active plot, no threat to the american public we were aware of, why was not this ied that we had intercepted, why wasn't that a threat? well, it was because we had inside control of the plot. which means any number of things in terms of environmentally working with partners, whatever else. it did not reveal any classified information, and as i said, we have to be careful here because there are still operational elements of this that remain classified. >> and that's appropriate, but it was just a couple weeks later when reuters reported publicly, and i quote, as a result of the news leaks, u.s. and allied officials told reuters that they were forced to end an operation which they had hoped could have continued for weeks or longer. >> there were a lot of things that were reported by the press, accurate, inaccurate. i would not put stock in the
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types of things you might be reading there. i know i engaged for an extended period of time both before the leak and afterward to make sure we could mitigate any damage from that initial leak and the subsequent leaks of classified information. >> so the you're essentially saying that this reuters report may or may not be accurate but had no link to what was disclosed to mr. clarke and then what he said later on -- shortly thereafter on abc news. >> what i'm saying is i'm comfortable with what i did and said at that time to make sure we were able to deal with the unfortunate leak of classified information. >> how frequently did you have to pull groups like this together in order to in a sense put out authorized or at least what you think is appropriate news for purposes -- for the correct purposes? >> senator, frequently if there's some type of event, if there's a disrupted terrorist attack, whether it's some
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underwear bomber or disrupted ied or whatever else we will engage with the press, with the american public, we will engage with counter trinch experts to talk to the american public. we want to make sure there's not misrepresentations of the fact but at the same time do it in a way we're able to maintain control over classified material. >> now, it is -- it does occur i assume or it is possible to put out an authorized leak. is that correct? >> no. those are oxymorons, authorized leak. it is something that would have to be declassified, disclosed, and do in a proper manner. >> and this in no way fell into that category? >> absolutely not. i was asked to engage with these individuals by the white house press office. i talked with them about the interception. no, it was not. >> we do -- there is a provision in the -- last year's intelligence authorization bill that requires a report to this committee of any authorized
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leaks. you are aware of that? >> i am aware of the provision, yes, that's been put forward. >> no report has come forward so i assume there haven't been any authorized leaks in the past year. >> i think what we want to do is make sure if there's going to be disclosures of classified information that this committee will be informed about that. we will adhere to the provision that was in that authorization bill. >> thank you. my time is expired. >> senator udall. >> thank you. good afternoon, mr. brennan. i can't help but observing that senator coats talked about being governor of new jersey. i think being governor of new jersey is a piece of cake compared to being director of the cia. i hope governor christi will take no offense to that. >> i have no plans to run against governor christie. >> thank you for your service. i have some comments i would like to share with you and then i will direct some questions your way.
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you have said that president obama believes that done carefully, deliberately, and responsibly we can be more transparent and still ensure our nation's security. i absolutely agree. the american people have the right to know what their government does on their behalf consistent with our national security, the presunks mption o transparency should be the rule. when we on the committee push hard for access to the legal analysis justifying the authority of the executive branch to lethally target americans using drones, for instance, it erodes the government's credibility to the american people. i want to tell you i'm grateful to the president for allowing members of this committee to briefly view some of the legal opinions on targeting american citizens. this is an important first step, but i want to tell you i think there's much more to be done in
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that regard, and you have heard that from my colleagues here today. i have long believed that our government also has an obligation to the american people to face its mistakes transparently, help the public understand the nature of those mistakes, and correct them. the next director of the cia has an important task ahead in this regard. mr. brennan, i know you're familiar with the mistakes that i'm referring to. we've already skaus discussed t here today to some extent. they're outlined on the report based on a documentary review of over 6 million pages of cia and other records and including 35,000 footnotes. i believe that this program was severely flawed. it was mismanaged. the enhanced interrogation techniques were brutal and perhaps most importantly it did not work. nonetheless, it was portrayed to the white house, the department of justice, the congress, and
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the media as a program that resulted in unique information that saved lives. acknowledging the flaws of this program is essential for the cia's long-term institutional integri integrity. the findings of this report relate to how other cia programs are managed today. as you said in your opening remarks, all cia employees should be proud of where they work and all the cia's activities. i think the best way to ensure that they're proud is for you to lead in correcting the false record and instituting the necessary reforms that will restore the cia's reputation for integrity and analytical rigor. the cia cannot be its best until the leadership faces the serious and grievous mistakes of this program. so if i might, let me turn to my first question.
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inaccurate information on the management, operation, effectiveness of the cia's detention and interrogation program was provided by the cia to the white house, the doj, congress, and the public. some of this information is regularly and publicly repeated today by former cia officials either knowingly or unknowingly. and although we now know this information is incorrect, the accurate information remains classified while inaccurate information has been declassified and regularly repeated. the committee will take up the matter of this report's declassification separately, but there's an important role i think the cia can play in the interim. cia has a responsibility to correct any inaccurate information that was provided to the previous white house, department of justice, congress, and the public regarding the detention and interrogation program. so here is my question. do you agree that the cia has this responsibility? and i'd appreciate a yes or no answer.
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>> yes, senator. >> thank you for that. again, yes or no, will you commit to working with the committee to correct the public and internal record regarding the detention and interrogation program within the next 90 days? >> senator, i think it's only fair of me to say that i am looking forward to cia's response to that report so that we're assured that we have both the committee's report as well as cia's comments on it as i would be getting back to you, yes. >> i can understand you want to make sure you have accurate time. i understand as well that the cia will finish their analysis by the middle of february and so i hope we can work within that time frame, and i know then your answers to the committee preparing for this hearing you wrote that the cia in all instances should convey accurate information to congress. when an inaccurate statement is made and the cia say ware of the
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inaccuracy, it must immediately correct the record. certainly i would do so if i were director. i take your answer in the spirit of the written testimony you provided to the committee. let me return to the report and it's eventual declassification if i might. i don't think it has to be difficult, that is the declassification, for these reasons. the identities of the most important detainees have already been declassified. the interrogation techniques themselves have been declassified. the application of techniques to detainees has been declassified to some extent with a partial declassification of the inspector general report and the intelligence was declassified to a significant extent when the bush administration described plots it claimed were thwarted as a result of the program. so long as the report does not identified any undercover officers or the names of any countries, can you think of any reason why the report could not be declassified with the appropriate number of
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redactions? can you answer yes or no to that question? >> i would have to take that declassification request under serious consideration obviously. that's a very weighty decision in terms of declassifying that report, and i would give it due consideration but there are a lot of considerations that go into such decisions. >> i want to again underline that i think this would strengthen the cia. it would strengthen our standing in the world. america is at its best as we discussed earlier today when it acknowledges its mistakes and learns from those mistakes. i want to quote howard baker who i think we all admire in this room. he spoke about the church committee which you may -- you know was an important effort on the part of this congress. there was much broader criticism of the cia in that church committee process, and the cia came out of that stronger and more poised to do what it's supposed to do. so i want to quote howard baker.
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he wrote, in all candor, however one must recognize that an investigation such as this one, he's referencing the church committee but i think it could apply to what this committee has done as well. of necessity will cause some short-term damage to our intelligence apparatus. a responsible inquiry, as this has been, will in the long run result in a stronger and more efficient intelligence community. such short-term inquiry will be outweighed by the long-term benefits gained by the restructuring of the intelligence community with more efficient utilization of our intelligence resources. so, again, mr. brennan, i look forward to working with you to complete these tasks we've outlined today. in the long run i have faith in the cia like you have faith in the cia that it will come out of this study stronger and poised to meet the 21st century intelligence challenges in front of us. thank you again for your willingness to serve. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator udall.
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senator rubio. >> thank you. thank you, mr. brennan, for being here with us today and congratulations on your nomination. i wanted to ask in the 2007 cbs interview you said that information obtained in interrogations have saved lives and in september of 2011 you said a speech at harvard, whenever possible the preference of the administration is to take custody of individuals so we can obtain information which is, quote, vital to the safety and security of the american people. so obviously you believe that interrogations of terrorists can give us information that account prevent attacks in the future. >> absolutely. >> but you don't believe the cia should be in the business of detention 37. >> i agree. >> so who should be? >> there are a number of options. u.s. military which maintains an active interrogation program and detention program. the fbi as part of its efforts on counterterrorism. and our international partners and working with them. that's where, in fact, most of the interrogations are taking place of terrorists who have been taken off of the battle
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fooeds in many countries. >> so there are active interrogations occurring? >> absolutely. every day. >> about the foreign partners that you talk about, have you talked to folks in the cia about their impressions of the quality of information we're getting from our foreign partners? >> yes, on a regular basis. >> and would it surprise you to know some of them have indicated to us repeatedly over the couple years that i have been here that the information we get directly is much better than anything we get from our foreign partners on some of these issues? >> right. that's why we work with our foreign partners so we can have direct access to these individuals. >> i'll tell you why i'm concerned, there was a suspect in the benghazi attack. >> he was taken into custody by the tunisians. >> did we not ask for access to him? >> and the tunisians do not have a by sis in their law to hold him. >> so they released him snp. >> they did. >> where is he?
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we don't know. >> he's still in tunisia. >> that doesn't sound like a gu system of working with our partners. >> it shows the tu nearbiens are working within their rule of law. >> we have a suspect in the attack on benghazi. they didn't give us access to him and we don't have any information from him. >> we work with our port naers across the board. when they are able to detain individuals according to their laws we work to see if we can have the ability to ask them questions, sometimes indirectly, and sometimes directly. >> so your point is that tunisian law did not allow them to hold them and therefore they let him go before we could -- >> and we didn't have anything on him either because if we did, then we would have made a point to the tunisians to -- >> what role should the cia play in interrogations? >> cia should be able to lend its full expertise as it does right now in terms of in support of military interrogations, fbi debriefings and interrogations and our foreign partner
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debriefings. >> what's the best setting to do that? a terrorist is captured and we think we can obtain information from them, where do you suggest they be taken? what's the right setting for it? >> there's many different options. sometimes it is with in foreign partners, they put the individuals in their jails and in their detention facilities according to their laws and people can access that. we take people as we have done in the past and put them on naval vessels and interrogate them for an extended period of time. >> so you think that's the best setting is the naval vessel -- >> no -- >> from our perspective leaving asighted the foreign partners for us. >> i think each case requires a very unique and tailored response and that's what we've done. whether somebody is picked up by a foreign parter in, whether somebody is picked up on the high seas or anyone else. what we need to do is see what are the conditions, what type of legal basis we have for that. so it's very much tailored to the circumstances.
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>> when we detain a suspected terrorist, the purpose of the interrogation, and i think you'd agree with the statement, the purpose of an interrogation is to develop information that could be used to disrupt terrorist activities and prevent attacks, correct? >> without a doubt. >> it's not to lay the case for a criminal conviction. >> well, i think, you know, you to take the person off the battle field and get as much intelligence as possible. you don't just want to get the information and send them off. you need to be able to do something with them. we have put people away for 99 years, for life so that, in fact, they're not able to hurt americans ever again. what you want to do is get that intelligence but also at the same time put them away so justice can be done. >> the number one priority initially is not necessarily to protect the record for a criminal prosecution. it's to obtain -- >> absolutely right. >> so we could act correctly. >> right. >> priority number two is to take them off the battle field. >> it's not an either/or but i -- >> why shouldn't we have places where we interrogate people, for
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example, guantanamo bay? why shouldn't we have a place to take people. isn't it an incentive to kill them -- >> it's never an incentive to kill them. anytime we have encountered somebody we have come up with, in fact, the routes for them to take to be interrogated nks debrief debriefed, as well as prosecuted. >> why is it a bad idea to have a place -- >> it's not a bad idea. we need to have those places. sometimes they're overseas. a lot of times it's back here in the states where we bring someone back because we, in fact, have a complaint on them or an indictment on them and then we bring them into an article 3 process and so we can elicit information from them and put them away behind bars. >> is the article 3 process in your mind an ideal way to develop this kind of information? aren't there limitations in the article 3 process? >> i'm very proud of our system of laws here and the article 3 process and our track record is exceptionally strong over the past dozen years. couple dozen years. so many terrorists have been successfully prosecuted and --
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>> i understand but in terms of our first priority is so develop information -- >> absolutely. fbi does a great job. >> an article 3 setting is not the most conducive to that. >> i would disagree. >> -- about not cooperating and turning over information that would incriminate them. >> again, it's tailored to the circumstances. sometimes an individual will be mirandized. sometimes they will not be mirandized right away. mirandizing an individual means only that the information that they give before then cannot be used in an article 3 court. but, in fact, you know, the fbi does a great job as far as eliciting information after mirandizing them so they can get information as part of that negotiation with them. let them know them languish forever or we can have a dialogue about it -- >> last point and i'm not going to use -- i only have a minute left. this case i have talked about, you're fully comfortable with this notion that because the tunisians concluded they didn't have a legal basis, we lost the opportunity to interrogate someone that could have provided
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us some significant information on the attack in benghazi. >> senator, this country of america really needs to make sure that we are setting a standard, an example for the world as far as the basis that we're going to, in fact, interrogate somebody, debrief somebody. we want to make sure we're doing it gho conjunction with our international partners and make sure we have the basis to do it so we don't have to face in years -- in the future challenges about how we, in fact, obtained -- >> what -- you keep talking about the basis of our law. what law exactly are you talking about in terms of the basis of detaining someone? when you say that we want to make sure that we have a basis to -- you said -- >> well, that's right. >> based on what? which law are we talking about? >> it all depends on the circumstances. are we talking about law of war which the u.s. military has? are you talking about article 3 authority which the fbi has. cia does not have by statute any type of detention authority. >> point i'm trying to get at is -- the truth of the matter is we don't know if he knew
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anything about the benghazi attack. we don't know if he knew about future attacks that were being planned by the same people because we never got to talk to him because tunisia said their laws wouldn't let them hold them. that ix cues we have heard in other parts of the laws. that doesn't concern you? >> we press our partners and foreign governments to hold individuals and to allow us access to it. sometimes their laws do not allow that to happen. i think the united states government has to respect these governments' right to ep force their laws appropriately. what we don't want to do is have these individuals being held in some type of custody that's extra judicial. >> okay. thank yo
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*- how should you be confirmed, how do we ensure that cia director is always going to be well-informed? and particularly we've questioned you today about a number of key sensitive programs. the nature of the agency's work is that a lot of these programs are disparate, varied. and thereof needs to needs to ability to measure objectively the success of these programs not simply by the individuals implementing the programs. while this is not the setting to talk about any individual, what i'm interested is pursuing the conversation we started about how you might set up systems so that to the best extent possible as the cia director you're going to make sure what's going on, get an accurate objective review, and not simply have the information that simply bucks up through the system. >> that's an excellent point and
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one i am concerned about. in order to have objective measures of effectiveness, the metrics that you want to be able to evaluate the worth of a program, you cannot have the individuals who are responsible for carrying it out. as hard as they might try, they cannot help, i think, view the program and the results in a certain way. they become witting or unwitting advocates for it. what we need to do is set up some type of system where you can have confidence that those measures of effectiveness are being done in an objective way. >> again, the nature of so many programs all very sensitive in nature. you have to have almost as we discussed probably not an i.t. type vehicle, something that is more run out of the director's office, but you've got to have some kind of red team that's able to check this information out to make sure that you've got -- so colleagues here press on what you should have done or
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could have done if you have that oversight, you have to have that objective information to start with. >> absolutely. i tend to have a reputation for being a detail person and having been an analyst and intelligence officer for many years, i need to see the data. i cannot rely just on some interpretation of it. so i do very much look forward to finding a way that the director's office can have this ability to independently evaluate these programs so that i can fairly and accurately represent them to you. i need to be able to have confidence myself. >> as you know and we all know, our country a grappling with enormous challenges, and that means national security remains most essential requirement for our national government. everything is going to have to be able to be done in a fiscally constrained period. how are you going to think about thinking through those challenges on where cuts, changes need to be made and if you could specifically outline one of the concerns that i have
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is kind of the division of labor and appropriate roles between the cia and dod operations. whether that kind of potential buildup in that capacity -- how do we get that done in these tight budget times. >> we have to make sure more than ever that every single dollar that's dedicated to intelligence is going to be optimized, and, in fact, if sequestration kicks in, what i wouldn't want to do is do salami slicing, 5% off the top of all the programs -- >> one of the reasons we need to make sure sequestration doesn't -- >> that's absolutely right because it's going to have a devastating impact on the national security of this country. and so i would want to make sure even if that doesn't happen in a fiscally constrained environment that i look at the prarms and prioritize and we really have to take a look at what are those programs that we really need to resource appropriately.
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as we're going to have and we've had some benefits from pulling folks out of iraq and with the continued draw down of forces in afghanistan, there's going to be some resource and assets we're going to have to reallocate there. i'll look carefully at that. what i want to do is make sure if i go to cia i have an understanding about exactly how that's monies are being spent. then as you point out there is quite a bit of intelligence capability within the defense department, and i know there have been recent press reports about the clandestine service and it's worked with cia. i want to make sure that these efforts are not going to be redundant whatsoever. i have had conversations with mike morell and general flynn to make sure the efforts will truly be integrated and complementary because we cannot have unnecessarily redundant kaepabilities in this government. >> i think that's an area that's going to need a lot of attention
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and a lot of oversight. i get concerned at times that the i.c.e. and the dod think they're coming from separate originators of funding and ultimately they still have to be within the greater budget constraints. i know my time is running down. your background and most of your expertise has been on the ct side. we see emerging threats from parts of the world that were not on the front line as we see disruptions through the -- particularly through the middle east where perhaps in retrospect we didn't have the right kind of coverage on social media and onto the streets. how do we make sure that we're going to get within the kind of fiscal constraints that we don't go complete ct, that we make sure we've got the coverage we need, the capabilities we need, and the worldwide coverage we need with your approach,
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particularly with your background. if you can address that. >> clearly counterterrorism is going to be a priority area for the energies committee and for cia for many years ago. just like weapons proliferation is as well. those are enduring challenges. since 9/11 the cia has dedicated a lot of effort and very successfully, they have done a tremendous job to mitigate that terrorist threat. at the same time though they do have this responsibility on global coverage. whey need to take a look at is whether or not there has been too much of an emphasis on the ct front,ed ed good as it is. we have to make sure we are not surprised on the strategic front, to pak sure we're dedicating the collectionabilitiecollectionab y abilities. the so-called arab spring didn't lend itself to traditional types of intelligence collection. there were things that were happening on a populist -- in a
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populist way that, you know, having somebody well-positioned somewhere who can provide us information is not going to give us that insight. social media, other types of things. i want to see if we can expand beyond the soda straw collection capabilities have served us very well and see what else we need to do to take into account the changing nature of the global environment and the communications system that exist worldwide. >> thank you for that. back to my first point and the time is about out, i think should you be confirmed that trying to make sure you have got that objective oversight, the ability to make sure that you have the best knowledge and best metrics possible so that when future challenges arrive, you can come to this committee and others and make sure that the president and this committee is informed with the best information possible. thank you. >> thank you very much, senator. mr. brennan, so you can be advised, we are not going to do the classified hearing following this. we will do it tuesday at 2:30.
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we will, however, do another round just with five minutes per senator so people can wrap up whatever it is they want to ask. i hope that's okay with you. >> absolutely, chairman. >> thank you, thank you. senator collins. >> thank you. mr. brennan, i want to follow up on an issue that several of my colleagues have raised. on the issue of capturing a terrorist versus targeted killing of a terrorist. in a recent speech that you gave at the wilson center, you said, quote, our unqualified preference is to only undertake lethal force when we believe that capturing the individual is not feasible. yet a study by the new american foundation as well as numerous press reports indicate that in the first two years of president
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obama's administration there were four times the number of targeted killings than in eight years of president bush's administration. is your testimony today that the huge increase in the number of lethal strikes has no connection to the change in the obama administration's detention policy? because obviously for capturing a terrorist, we have the opportunity to interrogate that individual and perhaps learn of ongoing plots. but if the strike is done, that opportunity is lost. are you saying today that it is totally unconnected to the obama administration's shift in